HU project pitched for European City of the Year Award

Utrecht has been nominated by The Academy of Urbanism for the 2020 European City of the Year Award. One of the example projects submitted by the Municipality in support of Utrecht’s claim to the title was the DURF project. HU students play a major role in this project.


Student coach Boris van Lieshout presented the project to the European delegates of The Academy of Urbanism. In DURF, HU students help young people from the Leidsche Rijn district to organise their own leisure activities. This strengthens their sense of ownership and self-sufficiency and promotes community building within the target group. These objectives are not supported within the more conventional approach, in which leisure activities are set up by outside organisations.

Community building

In DURF, the students first enter into dialogue with adolescents and young adults about their wishes and ideas in the area of entertainment, sports and physical activities, arts and culture and gaming. The young people are offered guidance and support when it comes to organising new activities and recruiting participants. This strong emphasis on community building could also be seen in the other projects organised at the Leidsche Rijn community centre; a theme that is of great importance in a rapidly changing neighbourhood like Leidsche Rijn.


The delegates also visited various other places in Utrecht that show how the city is handling the challenges and opportunities presented by urban development.

The Academy of Urbanism

The Academy of Urbanism is a politically independent, not-for-profit organisation that focuses on the collecting and sharing of successful strategies for the urban environment and bringing together people who are involved in urban innovation. In addition to Utrecht, this year’s nominees for the Academy’s European City of the Year Award are Porto and Sheffield.

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